What’s it all about?
Teacher John Brennan (Russell Crowe) attempts to break his wife Lara (Elizabeth Banks) out of prison after she is convicted of a murder which he believes her to be innocent of. The catastrophically incompetent Brennan sets about attempting various methods of escape, gets the shit kicked out of him while recruiting members of the criminal underworld, but thankfully still manages to be a great daddy to their motherless son all the while.
Anyone else in it?
Yes, lots of people. Liam Neeson plays a successful prison escapee dispensing advice to Brennan. Neeson attempts an American accent, though which one is anybody’s guess. Olivia Wilde does her best as playground mum (but she’s always going to be limited when fully-clothed), and Brian Dennehy, as Brennan’s father, spends a lot of time brooding, presumably because the writers haven’t given him enough dialogue. Oh, and ‘Merv’ (Daniel Stern, the lanky burglar from the Home Alone films) also crops up briefly as a lawyer.
Thumbs up or down?
Down. Like the title, the entire film is tedious and forgettable. Labelling it a ‘thriller’ is about as truthful as describing Midnight Express as a comedy. We were not even mildly ‘thrilled’, with suspense levels maintaining a tepid level throughout. You would expect a film that spends three-quarters of its length preparing for the ‘great escape’ to have a decent payoff. You WOULD expect this. But Brennan’s sudden transformation from incompetent vigilante to logistical mastermind is about as plausible as us becoming an SAS member after a week’s training.
Paul Haggis, the screenwriter behind Million Dollar Baby and Crash, can do better than this. We’ll put it down to a bad day at the office. But he better get back on track soon or we’ll be pulling out of his next big project.
The Next Three Days is released on 7 January 2011